Recently, I was poking around the inter-tube for inspiration regarding consecration. I had in mind the consecration of inanimate objects, like magical tools, or doorways, but in my wanderings, I came across a Catholic prayer to the Virgin Mary which got some gears turning inside my head.
My Queen and my Mother, I give myself entirely to you; and to show my devotion to you, I consecrate to you this day my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being without reserve. Wherefore, good Mother, as I am your own, keep me, guard me, as your property and possession. Amen. (Source)
Now, of course, if you read my blog at all, you know my personal feelings about being termed property. It does not work for me because I don’t feel like the land, the sea, the rivers, trees, animals or humans can ever really be owned. But there WAS something about this particular prayer that struck me. It was the idea of a daily statement of purpose in one’s relationship with a deity. The individual saying the prayer addresses the deity and states what they are offering, what benefit they hope to get, and what the purpose of that work is.
It reminded me of a conversation I’d had with Hermes some months ago.
Thenea: So about the offerings, actually.
Thenea: What’s their metaphysical purpose?
Hermes: Nope. The purpose is not metaphysical.
Hermes: Closer. Try again.
Thenea: It’s… for facilitating a relationship. It’s a gift, I get that. But why do gods want them? Like, when you give a human a gift the gift is usable in some sense. You give them chocolate. They eat it. You give them wine. They drink it. You give them a weird ass modern art sculpture, it decorates your home. So I give you an offering and you…?
Hermes: Know that you are still in.
Thenea: Still in…?
Hermes: Still on board.
Think of it like this: You are making love to a woman. At the start, she says yes. Does it end there? No. If you are not a gigantic douche-canoe, you periodically check in with her. You look for signs that she’s still into it. Maybe that’s happy noises, or an appreciative smile, or maybe you ask if she is into what you are doing, and she says yes.
But no feedback means stop. It means back off. It means give her space. Take your hands off of her tits and pull out — you are done.
Same thing with mortals and mysticism. Offerings are like that smile, that nod, that sign of continued interest. That’s what offerings do.
Maybe you don’t want me meddling in your life. Maybe you did yesterday, but now you don’t. Maybe you did this morning, but you changed your mind. Maybe you wanted help with your last job search, but not this one.
We look for signs that you want us. It can be an offering, a prayer, wearing a certain piece of jewelry. But if you want us to be present you need to be continually communicating that. Any ritual will do, as long as that ritual means yes.
I do not think that I would personally consecrate myself to a deity. However, there are certain endeavors wherein it would make sense to consecrate the work at hand to a deity, as a way of communicating that yes. For example, I might say such a prayer to Hephaistos before throwing on the wheel, or one to Ares before martial arts training, or one to Aphrodite before going on a date. It’s a way of recognizing the sacredness of the task and its importance to them, and it stands as an invitation to them to do it with me.
If the day is to be devoted to writing, I’d like to have a prayer like this on hand for Hermes.
Moreover, on psychological level, having such prayers is a way of framing the time being set aside, and putting it into sharper focus. Once the prayer is said, the endeavor becomes sacred. Once I am no longer just doing it for myself, I suspect that it will become harder to procrastinate, and easier to stay on task. Setting intention is important for more than just magic.